DSW and Allies Celebrate START Act Anniversary

January 20, 2023

On January 20, Decriminalize Sex Work (DSW) gathered with allies from the New York Anti-Trafficking Network (NYATN) to celebrate the one year anniversary of the Survivors of Trafficking Attaining Relief Together Act (START) in New York. DSW’s Crystal DeBoise is a founding member of NYATN and helped organize the event, which was attended by anti-trafficking advocates, criminal defense lawyers, and activists.

The START Act allows New York State courts to vacate a range of criminal convictions stemming from a person’s experience as a victim of human trafficking, permitting survivors to petition for record relief relating to any crimes committed as a result of being trafficked. It went into effect in January 2022.

New York’s old vacatur law left the vast majority of trafficking survivors unprotected from criminal penalties for involvement in crimes they were forced to commit. DSW’s Melissa Broudo and Crystal DeBoise were key members of the START coalition, which ultimately pushed New York to expand its vacatur law, along with fellow attorneys, advocates, and service providers.

The coalition spent years advocating for the expansion of New York’s vacatur law, eventually gaining support from district attorneys’ offices, service providers, and impacted community members from around the state. Sixty brave survivors shared their stories with New York lawmakers to shed light on the impact the START act could have on their lives and communities.

Expanding criminal record relief is an essential lifeline for many trafficking victims, especially as they try to reclaim their lives. The collateral consequences of an arrest can be devastating, preventing survivors from accessing resources like housing and healthcare.

The passage of the START Act was monumental in securing the human rights of trafficking survivors throughout the state of New York. This party was a well-deserved celebration for those who were so closely involved in this victory.

Members of the New York Anti-Trafficking Network (NYATN) celebrate the anniversary of the START Act. From L to R: Anita Teekah of Latino Justice, Melissa Broudo of Decriminalize Sex Work, Mary Caparas of Womankind, Kate Mogulescu of Brookly Law School, and Ryan Wall of Legal Aid Exploitation Intervention Project.

Members of the New York Anti-Trafficking Network (NYATN) celebrate the anniversary of the START Act. From L to R: Anita Teekah of Latino Justice, Melissa Broudo of Decriminalize Sex Work, Mary Caparas of Womankind, Kate Mogulescu of Brookly Law School, and Ryan Wall of Legal Aid Exploitation Intervention Project.

DSW Newsletter #44 (January 2022)

DSW Attends Adult Video News Awards in Las Vegas

January 7, 2023 Decriminalize Sex Work (DSW) attended the annual Adult Video News (AVN) Awards in Las Vegas earlier this month. The event recognizes achievements in various aspects of the creation...
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DSW Attends Adult Video News Awards in Las Vegas

California Repeals Anti-Prostitution Loitering Law

January 1, 2023 SB 357, otherwise known as the Safer Streets for All Act, has officially gone into effect in California. The bill repealed California Penal Code § 653.22, which criminalized the...
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California Repeals Anti-Prostitution Loitering Law

United States Appeals Court Hears Arguments Against SESTA/FOSTA

January 11, 2023 The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) have harmed victims of trafficking, the very individuals they were meant to protect, along...
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United States Appeals Court Hears Arguments Against SESTA/FOSTA

DSW and Allies Celebrate START Act Anniversary

January 20, 2023 On January 20, Decriminalize Sex Work (DSW) gathered with allies from the New York Anti-Trafficking Network (NYATN) to celebrate the one year anniversary of the Survivors of Trafficking...
Read More
DSW and Allies Celebrate START Act Anniversary

DSW Newsletter Archive

DSW, Allies, and Elected Officials Urge NY Legislature To Offer Immunity to Sex Workers & Survivors of Trafficking

May 10, 2022

Decriminalize Sex Work (DSW) — as part of ImmunityNY, a coalition of organizations dedicated to reducing harm and increasing safety by passing S.2233-A (Sepulveda)/A.255-A (Gottfried) — organized and participated in a day of meetings with press and legislators in Albany to encourage passage of this common sense legislation. It is good public health and criminal justice policy to allow consensual adult sex workers and survivors of human trafficking who are victims or witnesses of crime to report their experiences to law enforcement and healthcare providers without fear of prosecution for prostitution. Immunity laws benefit all communities by allowing law enforcement to better detect criminal activity.

This vital legislation would encourage sex workers and trafficking survivors who are crime victims and witnesses to report their experiences to law enforcement, receive medical care, and seek help. People involved in commercial sexual activity, whether by choice or because they are being trafficked, are often targeted by predators who know they are unlikely to report victimization or seek medical attention for fear of their own arrest. When abusers are not reported to law enforcement, they are able to continue their acts of violence and exploitation with impunity. “Because of the legal jeopardy they would be placed in, sex workers often do not report crimes when they are targeted for violence. This bill protects a victim or witness to a crime from prosecution for prostitution when seeking help, health care, or assisting in any investigation regardless if it results in a conviction. Similar to the ‘Good Samaritan’ laws of 2011, this bill protects people seeking assistance or seeking to simply do what’s right,” said Senate bill sponsor Senator Luis Sepúlveda (D-Bronx).

States across the country are increasingly adopting laws that grant some form of criminal legal immunity from prosecution for prostitution to people who report crimes – including California, Colorado, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, Vermont, Utah, and Washington, where an immunity bill was signed into law by the governor in early May 2022. “Immunity legislation is gaining popularity across the country with bipartisan support and collaborative efforts between activists, survivors, legislators, and law enforcement, who are all in agreement that these policies are crucial in advancing public health and safety. Ensuring that perpetrators of violence cannot repeatedly exploit their victims’ vulnerability and allowing survivors of violence to seek help is common sense public policy, which is why immunity laws are increasingly common in other states,” said Rebecca Cleary, DSW staff attorney.

“The immunity bill is necessary to implement a framework of protection for sex workers who are victims of horrific crimes. Passing the immunity bill means freeing sex workers from institutional harm and the negative consequences created to enslave sex workers by traffickers who have become masterminds of the criminal justice system. Only a failed system won’t allow victims to tell their stories,” said Dawn Rowe, president and CEO of Girl Vow.

“Too often sex workers are afraid to report violent crimes committed against themselves or others, or even to seek health care for their injuries, because contact with police means likelihood of arrest,” said Assembly bill sponsor Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan). “Our laws create an inherently criminalized environment in which sex workers are targeted for violence. This would be an important step toward changing the dynamic between police and sex workers. It is similar to the ‘Good Samaritan’ law which protects people who seek help when someone suffers a drug overdose. All New Yorkers deserve safety from violence, and I hope we can advance this important bill.” Laura Mullen, who is a survivor and the co-founder of the Survivor Advisory Board and an anti-trafficking service advocate at ECLI-VIBES, shared, “Where I come from, criminals are criminals if you commit a crime, no matter the circumstances behind it. If only one person would have understood that I knew this and was scared of being arrested on my own or even alongside the person trafficking me, I would have used my voice to report him and other crimes that actual criminals committed. You see, they had a choice and I didn’t.”

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr., released a statement in conjunction with the press conference and legislative meetings. “New York is safer when survivors and witnesses feel comfortable reporting crimes. But individuals involved in the commercial sex trade often feel reluctant to report crimes because they are afraid they will be prosecuted themselves for prostitution offenses.” He implored the legislature to pass the bill. “Silencing these individuals does not protect us, it only protects the perpetrators of the crimes these survivors and witnesses are too afraid to report,” Bragg added.

New York residents can send a letter in support of this critical legislation here.

Learn more about immunity/good samaritan/safe reporting laws for sex workers and survivors of trafficking around the country here.

Melissa Broudo speaks during the press conference.

Melissa Broudo speaks during the press conference.

DSW Newsletter #36 (May 2022)

Vermont Legislature Ratifies Burlington’s Vote To Strike Archaic and Discriminatory Language from City Charter

May 10, 2022 The Vermont Senate voted to pass Burlington’s charter change, striking harmful language from the city charter. In March, 69% of Burlington residents voted to support equity, safety, and dignity by opting to remove the...
Read More
Vermont Legislature Ratifies Burlington’s Vote To Strike Archaic and Discriminatory Language from City Charter

DSW, Allies, and Elected Officials Urge NY Legislature To Offer Immunity to Sex Workers & Survivors of Trafficking

May 10, 2022 Decriminalize Sex Work (DSW) — as part of ImmunityNY, a coalition of organizations dedicated to reducing harm and increasing safety by passing S.2233-A (Sepulveda)/A.255-A (Gottfried) — organized and participated in a day of meetings...
Read More
DSW, Allies, and Elected Officials Urge NY Legislature To Offer Immunity to Sex Workers & Survivors of Trafficking

DSW Legal Director Testifies During Legislative Study Commission

April 25, 2022 DSW Legal Director Melissa Broudo presented on the differences and distinctions between human trafficking and consensual adult sex work at the April 25 meeting of a legislative study commission in Rhode Island. She co-presented...
Read More
DSW Legal Director Testifies During Legislative Study Commission

DSW Staff Share Their Expertise

May 2, 2022 Throughout the month of May, DSW staff participated in a number of panels and discussions highlighting the harms of criminalization, pending legislation on sex work, and reminding sex workers of their rights! DSW Legal...
Read More
DSW Staff Share Their Expertise

DSW Newsletter Archive

DSW Staff Share Their Expertise

May 2, 2022

Throughout the month of May, DSW staff participated in a number of panels and discussions highlighting the harms of criminalization, pending legislation on sex work, and reminding sex workers of their rights!

———

DSW Legal Director Melissa Broudo joined the New York County Lawyers Association for their May 2 webinar, “Pending Legislation on Sex Work Decriminalization.”

The New York County Lawyers Association provided this description of the program: The criminal justice system’s approach to sex work has changed in recent years as some area district attorneys’ offices have pledged to stop prosecuting some sex work related offenses, while some continue to prosecute those accused of patronizing and third parties.

Still, the continued criminalization of sex work disproportionately affects the LGBTQ community, communities of color and immigrant communities where, for many, sex work remains a means of survival in the face of economic insecurity.

Pending legislation in Albany (the “Stop the Violence in the Sex Trades Act” S3075/A849) aims to decriminalize sex work between consenting adults and allow workers a safe and secure environment, without the stigma and fear of judgment, arrest, and incarceration. Meanwhile, the “Sex Trade Survivors Justice and Equality Act” proposes asymmetrical criminalization [or client criminalization], eliminating penalties for some sex work related offenses, while levying fines against customers, roommates, drivers, and others. Both bills would continue to criminalize sex trafficking, exploitation, and coercion.

———

DSW was proud to sponsor and participate in Equality New York’s 2022 advocacy day. The day was filled with compelling and educational panels, discussions, and legislator meetings. DSW Research and Project Manager J. Leigh Oshiro-Brantly, volunteer attorney Alison Kolins and Legal Director Melissa Broudo traveled to Albany to take part in the event. Melissa Broudo moderated “The Criminalization of Sexuality: From Banned Books to Prison Walls,” during which panelists “explored the linkage from repressive/no sexual health education (banned books/banned teachings) to criminalization of people for gender expression and sexual acts (i.e. prostitution). The continuum of stigmatization and marginalization across these divergent — but connected — issues is central to understanding the continued backlash queer and trans folks receive when there are cultural and legal shifts. Silencing, shaming, stigmatizing, and ultimately criminalizing people for who they are or what they do with their bodies is a continuum that must be examined and fought.”

———

J. Leigh Oshiro-Brantly hosted the 2022 Transgender, Gender Non-Conforming, Non-Binary, and Intersex (TGNCNBI) Advocacy Day, spearheaded by New York Transgender Advocacy Group and the New York State Gender Diversity Coalition. The full day of programming included “Sex Work Issues and Legislation,” during which DSW Staff Attorney Rebecca Cleary and Ceyenne Doroshow discussed the fight to decriminalize sex work and lift up sex workers, the 2021 repeal of the “Walking While Trans Ban,” the pending immunity bill, and Supreme Court Justice Alito’s leaked draft opinion on abortion rights and its connection to sex work.

———

Melissa Broudo and J. Leigh Oshiro-Brantly traveled to DomCon in Los Angeles where they shared information about the critical need to decriminalize consensual adult sex work throughout the conference and also presented “Sex Work, Fetish Work, and the Law.” Their presentation explained the different legal and regulatory bodies that affect people involved in all forms of sex work, including fetish work — even in ways that one may not expect. They also discussed how to navigate legal digital spaces post-SESTA/FOSTA.

J. Leigh Oshiro-Brantly and Melissa Broudo pose at DomCon.

J. Leigh Oshiro-Brantly and Melissa Broudo pose at DomCon.

Melissa Broudo moderates “The Criminalization of Sexuality: From Banned Books to Prison Walls” during Equality NY’s Advocacy Day.

Melissa Broudo moderates “The Criminalization of Sexuality: From Banned Books to Prison Walls” during Equality NY’s Advocacy Day.

J. Leigh Oshiro-Brantly and Melissa Broudo join other advocates for a press conference during Equality New York’s Advocacy Day.

J. Leigh Oshiro-Brantly and Melissa Broudo join other advocates for a press conference during Equality New York’s Advocacy Day.

DSW Newsletter #36 (May 2022)

Vermont Legislature Ratifies Burlington’s Vote To Strike Archaic and Discriminatory Language from City Charter

May 10, 2022 The Vermont Senate voted to pass Burlington’s charter change, striking harmful language from the city charter. In March, 69% of Burlington residents voted to support equity, safety, and dignity by opting to remove the...
Read More
Vermont Legislature Ratifies Burlington’s Vote To Strike Archaic and Discriminatory Language from City Charter

DSW, Allies, and Elected Officials Urge NY Legislature To Offer Immunity to Sex Workers & Survivors of Trafficking

May 10, 2022 Decriminalize Sex Work (DSW) — as part of ImmunityNY, a coalition of organizations dedicated to reducing harm and increasing safety by passing S.2233-A (Sepulveda)/A.255-A (Gottfried) — organized and participated in a day of meetings...
Read More
DSW, Allies, and Elected Officials Urge NY Legislature To Offer Immunity to Sex Workers & Survivors of Trafficking

DSW Legal Director Testifies During Legislative Study Commission

April 25, 2022 DSW Legal Director Melissa Broudo presented on the differences and distinctions between human trafficking and consensual adult sex work at the April 25 meeting of a legislative study commission in Rhode Island. She co-presented...
Read More
DSW Legal Director Testifies During Legislative Study Commission

DSW Staff Share Their Expertise

May 2, 2022 Throughout the month of May, DSW staff participated in a number of panels and discussions highlighting the harms of criminalization, pending legislation on sex work, and reminding sex workers of their rights! DSW Legal...
Read More
DSW Staff Share Their Expertise

DSW Newsletter Archive

DSW’s Ceyenne Doroshow Is Grand Marshal of NYC Pride

June 27, 2021

The New York City Pride Parade, one of the most famous celebrations of Pride Month and historically the largest parade in the world, canceled its in-person festivities last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the parade so central to New York’s identity was back with a vengeance. The celebrations were streamed on news stations to minimize crowding, but that did not stop the city from showing up with pride in many colors.

DSW’s own Ceyenne Doroshow was named a Grand Marshal of this year’s event, leading the parade that kicked off on 25th Street, processed down 5th Avenue, before making a right into the West Village, past the Stonewall Memorial, and ending just before the Christopher Street Pier. Melissa Broudo, J. Leigh Oshiro-Brantly, Rebecca Cleary, and Frances Steele of DSW processed just behind her. Doroshow, a cornerstone figure of the international transgender and sex worker rights movements, was interviewed by Angelica Ross of Pose before commencing the march.

Ceyenne Doroshow is the founder and executive director of Gays and Lesbians Living in a Transgender Society (G.L.I.T.S.) Inc. The Organization works to provide holistic care to LGBTQ sex workers and recently broke ground on the first-ever trans-owned and run housing cooperative for transgender sex workers. In addition, Doroshow is on the board of SWOP Behind Bars, the Caribbean Equality Project, the SOAR Institute, the Sex Workers Project, TGJIP of San Francisco, and the New York Transgender Advocacy Group (NYTAG). Doroshow was honored to act as Grand Marshal for Pride. In an interview with ABC 7, she said, “I've been doing this work for 30 years, not wanting to be a part of just one thing, but wanting to be a part of the bigger picture … making sure people get what they need. So Pride to me and being a part of this year looks very different. It's kind of a hot and spicy feeling or a sweet and spicy feeling.”

DSW staffers also took part in the Queer Liberation March that occurred later that day. The Reclaim Pride Coalition organized the parade as a protest to the Heritage Pride March two years ago. It began at Bryant Park and processed down 7th Avenue with rainbow flags and signs that included "Liberation and Justice." Later, the celebration continued in and around Greenwich Village.

The week before Pride, Governor Cuomo signed the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) into law in New York State. The GRA recognizes non-binary gender designation on official documentation and eases the process of name changes and birth certificate alterations. J. Leigh Oshiro-Brantly and Frances Steele attended the ceremony.

As DSW’s work highlights, LGBTQ justice is intimately connected with sex worker rights, health, and safety, an intersection that organizers and policy-makers have increasingly recognized. This year’s event is a reminder of how far we have come since the Stonewall Uprising inaugurated NYC Pride in 1969. It also recognizes how far we have to go. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, two leaders of Stonewall, marched for sex worker rights and the abolition of HIV/AIDS, as well as LGTBQ pride, but sex workers are still criminalized and abused across the country. To address issues of gender equity and diversity and sexual identity justice, we must decriminalize consensual adult sex work as a legitimate form of labor that allows resource access for disenfranchised and marginalized individuals.

DSW’s Ceyenne Doroshow is Grand Marshal of NYC Pride

Ceyenne Doroshow pictured just before the parade commenced on Fifth Avennue (DSW 2021).

DSW’s Frances Steele, J. Leigh Oshiro-Brantly, Allison Kolins, Rebecca Cleary, and Melissa Broudo celebrate the conclusion of the Heritage Pride March (DSW 2021)

DSW’s Frances Steele, J. Leigh Oshiro-Brantly, Allison Kolins, Rebecca Cleary, and Melissa Broudo celebrate the conclusion of the Heritage Pride March (DSW 2021)

Melissa Broudo of DSW (right) marches with XX and Precious X of Gays and Lesbians Living in a Transgender Society (G.L.I.T.S.) (DSW 2021)

DSW’s Frances Steele, J. Leigh Oshiro-Brantly, Allison Kolins, Rebecca Cleary, and Melissa Broudo celebrate the conclusion of the Heritage Pride March (DSW 2021)

DSW and G.L.I.T.S. Inc. staffers carry the G.L.I.T.S. banner through Greenwich Village towards the end of the march (DSW 2021)

DSW and G.L.I.T.S. Inc. staffers carry the G.L.I.T.S. banner through Greenwich Village towards the end of the march (DSW 2021)

DSW Newsletter #27 (June 2021)

Hero of the Month: Elisa Crespo

June 13, 2021 Elisa Crespo is fighting for a world where all people feel “included, safe, seen, and heard.” Right now, she is focusing on the rights and dignity of...
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Hero of the Month: Elisa Crespo

DSW Staff Featured in Documentary on Decriminalization

June 17, 2021 DSW’s J. Leigh Oshiro-Brantly, Melissa Broudo and Ceyenne Doroshow are featured in “Sex Work is Work,” a powerful short-film that explores the push for the decriminalization of...
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DSW Staff Featured in Documentary on Decriminalization

Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Is Marked With Intersectional Pride Series

June 1, 2021 Each of the panels presented as part of Tulsa 100: Remember, Activate, Heal was impactful, educational, and transformative. If you missed them or want to rewatch them,...
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Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Is Marked With Intersectional Pride Series

DSW’s Ceyenne Doroshow Is Grand Marshal of NYC Pride

June 27, 2021 The New York City Pride Parade, one of the most famous celebrations of Pride Month and historically the largest parade in the world, canceled its in-person festivities...
Read More
DSW’s Ceyenne Doroshow Is Grand Marshal of NYC Pride

The Charge of Soliciting Prostitution

In this comprehensive guide to the charge of soliciting prostitution, DSW answers the most frequently asked questions about solicitation and other prostitution laws. Is soliciting prostitution defined differently in every...
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The Charge of Soliciting Prostitution
Hero of the Month: Elisa Crespo Hero of the Month: Elisa Crespo
DSW Staff Featured in Documentary on Decriminalization DSW Staff Featured in Documentary on...
Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Is Marked With Intersectional Pride Series Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Is Marked...
DSW’s Ceyenne Doroshow Is Grand Marshal of NYC Pride DSW’s Ceyenne Doroshow Is Grand Marshal...
The Charge of Soliciting Prostitution The Charge of Soliciting Prostitution

DSW Newsletter Archive

DSW Staff Share Their Expertise

April 28, 2021

New York Transgender Advocacy Group (NYTAG) hosted their annual advocacy day on April 28. The full day of programming included appearances from elected officials, a conversation with former New York City Council candidate and transgender-rights activist Elisa Crespo, and panels on TGNCNB Youth and the full decriminalization of sex work vs. the Entrapment/‍Equality/‍Nordic Model of governing sex work. DSW’s legal director, Melissa Broudo, moderated the latter panel and DSW’s research and project manager, J. Leigh Oshiro-Brantley appeared as a panelist.

Along with the the other esteemed panelists, Oshiro-Brantly discussed various legal frameworks for sex work. The panelists concurred that, as sex workers, they hope that New York and other US states will adopt full decriminalization. Though each panelist has unique and varied experiences, they all believe that no law should ever be enacted without input from impacted communities. The criminalization of sex work, whether full or partial, puts them and their communities at risk.

For more information on how these models differ and why full decriminalization is the only framework that leads to increased public health and safety and a reduction in exploitation, read our briefing paper Debunking the Entrapment Model, a.k.a. the End Demand Model.

TAKE ACTION! HELP DEFEAT ENTRAPMENT MODEL LEGISLATION.

Please send this letter to your State Representative and help reject the Entrapment Model before it gets a foothold in the United States. With your support, we can fully decriminalize consensual adult sex work across the country and improve the health and safety of our communities.

DSW Staff Share Their Expertise

The Panel.

DSW Staff Share Their Expertise

Courtesy of New York Transgender Advocacy Group (NYTAG).

DSW Newsletter #26 (May 2021)

Hero of the Month: Norma Jean Almodovar

May 15, 2021 A relentless activist for justice, truth, marginalized groups, and simple human decency, Norma Jean Almodovar is a force of nature. With incredible courage, grace, and a great...
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Hero of the Month: Norma Jean Almodovar

NY Senate Passes the START Act

May 24, 2021 The New York State Senate passed the Survivors of Trafficking Attaining Relief Together (START) Act (S.674/‍A.459), which would provide greater protections for survivors of human trafficking by allowing them...
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NY Senate Passes the START Act

DSW Staff Share Their Expertise

April 28, 2021 New York Transgender Advocacy Group (NYTAG) hosted their annual advocacy day on April 28. The full day of programming included appearances from elected officials, a conversation with former...
Read More
DSW Staff Share Their Expertise

Remembering Margo St. James

May 1, 2021 DSW was thrilled to sponsor the online international memorial for legendary sex worker rights activist, Margo St. James. In addition to sponsoring the event, DSW’s Melissa Broudo...
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Remembering Margo St. James

Mark Your Calendars

June 1-3, 2021 New York Transgender Advocacy Group (NYTAG) and many other advocacy partners from across the country are gathering in Tulsa, OK, for Tulsa 100, An Intersectional Pride Series....
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Mark Your Calendars
Hero of the Month: Norma Jean Almodovar Hero of the Month: Norma Jean...
NY Senate Passes the START Act NY Senate Passes the START Act
DSW Staff Share Their Expertise DSW Staff Share Their Expertise
Remembering Margo St. James Remembering Margo St. James
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DSW Newsletter Archive

Mark Your Calendars

April 6, 2021: Equality New York (EQNY), a statewide advocacy organization working to advance equality and justice for LGBTQI New Yorkers and their families, will hold its 2021 Advocacy Day on April 6. DSW’s Legal Director Melissa Broudo, is part of the team organizing the day; DSW’s J. Leigh Oshiro-Brantly and Ceyenne Doroshow, and Broudo herself, will all be featured on panels throughout the event.

For more information and to register, visit: https://www.equalityny.org/2021-nys-lgbtqi-virtual-advocacy-day/

SWOP Mayoral Forum

(tentative date) May 20, 2021: SWOP Brooklyn will host a New York City Mayoral Candidate Forum on sex work and police reform. Candidates will answer questions from the community and have the opportunity to outline their plans to hold law enforcement accountable, reform mass incarceration, and improve the health, safety, and human rights of sex workers, trafficking survivors, and our communities at large. The date is subject to change.

Courtesy of Equality New York.

DSW Newsletter #24 (March 2021)

Heroes of the Month: Scientists for Sex Worker Rights

March 3, 2021 Since 2001, sex workers, allies, and advocates have commemorated International Sex Worker Rights Day on March 3 in an effort to raise awareness of the human rights abuses...
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Heroes of the Month: Scientists for Sex Worker Rights

Rhode Island Introduces Legislation Aimed at Protecting Sex Workers

March 8, 2021 DSW is pleased to be working with allies in Rhode Island on four bills critical to the health and safety of sex workers and communities as a...
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Rhode Island Introduces Legislation Aimed at Protecting Sex Workers

Decriminalization News From Oregon and Louisiana

March 3, 2021: New Orleans District 91 State Representative Mandie Landry proposed a new bill decriminalizing prostitution in Louisiana on International Sex Workers’ Rights Day. Landry partnered with local sex worker rights...
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Decriminalization News From Oregon and Louisiana

Mark Your Calendars

April 6, 2021: Equality New York (EQNY), a statewide advocacy organization working to advance equality and justice for LGBTQI New Yorkers and their families, will hold its 2021 Advocacy Day...
Read More
Mark Your Calendars
Heroes of the Month: Scientists for Sex Worker Rights Heroes of the Month: Scientists for...
Rhode Island Introduces Legislation Aimed at Protecting Sex Workers Rhode Island Introduces Legislation Aimed at...
Decriminalization News From Oregon and Louisiana Decriminalization News From Oregon and Louisiana
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DSW Newsletter Archive

Transgender Day of Remembrance Summit

November 19, 2020

The New York Transgender Advocacy Group (NYTAG) hosted a Transgender Day of Remembrance Virtual Summit on November 19 and 20. In addition to providing a space to remember those whose lives were lost, the summit was filled with informational, powerful, and inspirational panels and presentations, such as the transmasculine panel "What's the T: Transmen Talk Trauma, Sex Work, and Tina" and a presentation on "Environmental Justice: Advocating for Our Environment in a Post COVID-19 World.”

Many notable individuals were in attendance, including Sen. Brad Hoylman, co-sponsor of the bill to repeal the “Walking While Trans” ban (SB 2253/AB 654). Activist and civil rights attorney Alejandra Caraballo presented and Samuel Nemir Olivares, a progressive activist running for State Committee, also joined the event. Jumaane Williams, the public advocate of NYC, also spoke.

Ceyenne Doroshow, founder and executive director of G.L.I.T.S. (Gays and Lesbians Living in a Transgender Society) and DSW consultant, was one of the 2020 recipients of the Marsha P. Johnson Community Leader Award. Upon acceptance, Doroshow exclaimed, “I value you. I value your push. I value your stamina. … You are all capable of building the utopia you want.”

The New York State Division of Human Rights provided a Know Your Rights presentation to attendees. (Photo: DSW)

Ceyenne Doroshow was one of the 2020 recipients of the Marsha P. Johnson Community Leader Award. (Photo: DSW)

DSW Newsletter #21 (December 2020)

Hero of the Month: Mataoe Aiden James Nevils

December 8, 2020 Seeking medical care can be scary and stressful for anyone. Now imagine that you know you need medical attention but also know that you’ll confront stigma and...
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Hero of the Month: Mataoe Aiden James Nevils

The Palermo Protocol: 20 Years Later

November 24, 2020 The conflation of consensual adult sex work and human trafficking remains a harmful paradigm that continues to be promoted by a number of organizations and individuals, especially...
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The Palermo Protocol: 20 Years Later

Transgender Day of Remembrance Summit

November 19, 2020 The New York Transgender Advocacy Group (NYTAG) hosted a Transgender Day of Remembrance Virtual Summit on November 19 and 20. In addition to providing a space to...
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Transgender Day of Remembrance Summit

G.L.I.T.S. Opens First Housing Complex of its Kind

November 18, 2020 G.L.I.T.S. (Gays and Lesbians Living in a Transgender Society) unveiled their brand new housing complex — the first housing program run by transgender individuals for transgender individuals in...
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G.L.I.T.S. Opens First Housing Complex of its Kind

NYC Council Repeals ‘Walking While Trans’ Ban

December 10, 2020 In a historic vote, the NYC Council unanimously voted to repeal Resolution 0923: Loitering for the Purpose of Engaging in Prostitution (LPP), commonly known as the “Walking...
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NYC Council Repeals ‘Walking While Trans’ Ban

Mark Your Calendars for December 17

December 17, 2020 – International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers We’ve gathered a small sampling of the events taking place around the world to mark the International Day...
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Mark Your Calendars for December 17
Hero of the Month: Mataoe Aiden James Nevils Hero of the Month: Mataoe Aiden...
The Palermo Protocol: 20 Years Later The Palermo Protocol: 20 Years Later
Transgender Day of Remembrance Summit Transgender Day of Remembrance Summit
G.L.I.T.S. Opens First Housing Complex of its Kind G.L.I.T.S. Opens First Housing Complex of...
NYC Council Repeals ‘Walking While Trans’ Ban NYC Council Repeals ‘Walking While Trans’...
Mark Your Calendars for December 17 Mark Your Calendars for December 17

DSW Newsletter Archive

G.L.I.T.S. Opens First Housing Complex of its Kind

November 18, 2020

G.L.I.T.S. (Gays and Lesbians Living in a Transgender Society) unveiled their brand new housing complex — the first housing program run by transgender individuals for transgender individuals in NYC. The building has 11 apartments and is located in the Woodhaven neighborhood of Queens. Ceyenne Doroshow, founder and executive director of G.L.I.T.S., plans to have each apartment lovingly decorated by a designer. The basement will hold an educational and learning center.

“Thirty years of a dream, of doing something like this,” Doroshow said at the opening ceremony. “But not just doing it; putting us in an area, in a location where we don't have to run.”

G.L.I.T.S. addresses the stigmatization and criminalization of trans people due to laws prohibiting sex work. Doroshow is a prominent leader in the Black Trans Lives Matter movement and has been featured in national news outlets such as Vogue, GQ, and The Wall Street Journal.

Ceyenne Doroshow and DSW’s Melissa Sontag Broudo celebrate the opening of the housing complex. (Photo: Melissa Sontag Broudo)

Ceyenne Doroshow’s dream becomes reality. (Photo: CNN)

DSW Newsletter #21 (December 2020)

Hero of the Month: Mataoe Aiden James Nevils

December 8, 2020 Seeking medical care can be scary and stressful for anyone. Now imagine that you know you need medical attention but also know that you’ll confront stigma and...
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Hero of the Month: Mataoe Aiden James Nevils

The Palermo Protocol: 20 Years Later

November 24, 2020 The conflation of consensual adult sex work and human trafficking remains a harmful paradigm that continues to be promoted by a number of organizations and individuals, especially...
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The Palermo Protocol: 20 Years Later

Transgender Day of Remembrance Summit

November 19, 2020 The New York Transgender Advocacy Group (NYTAG) hosted a Transgender Day of Remembrance Virtual Summit on November 19 and 20. In addition to providing a space to...
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Transgender Day of Remembrance Summit

G.L.I.T.S. Opens First Housing Complex of its Kind

November 18, 2020 G.L.I.T.S. (Gays and Lesbians Living in a Transgender Society) unveiled their brand new housing complex — the first housing program run by transgender individuals for transgender individuals in...
Read More
G.L.I.T.S. Opens First Housing Complex of its Kind

NYC Council Repeals ‘Walking While Trans’ Ban

December 10, 2020 In a historic vote, the NYC Council unanimously voted to repeal Resolution 0923: Loitering for the Purpose of Engaging in Prostitution (LPP), commonly known as the “Walking...
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NYC Council Repeals ‘Walking While Trans’ Ban

Mark Your Calendars for December 17

December 17, 2020 – International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers We’ve gathered a small sampling of the events taking place around the world to mark the International Day...
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Mark Your Calendars for December 17
Hero of the Month: Mataoe Aiden James Nevils Hero of the Month: Mataoe Aiden...
The Palermo Protocol: 20 Years Later The Palermo Protocol: 20 Years Later
Transgender Day of Remembrance Summit Transgender Day of Remembrance Summit
G.L.I.T.S. Opens First Housing Complex of its Kind G.L.I.T.S. Opens First Housing Complex of...
NYC Council Repeals ‘Walking While Trans’ Ban NYC Council Repeals ‘Walking While Trans’...
Mark Your Calendars for December 17 Mark Your Calendars for December 17

DSW Newsletter Archive

Black Lives Matter

June 2020

Black people nationwide continue to be harassed and murdered by law enforcement, with little to no consequences. We know that this systemic disregard for Black lives is neither new nor accidental, but rather a symptom of the endemic racism that shapes the society we live in. The movement to decriminalize sex work is all too familiar with how police routinely target and violate Black and brown bodies.

People of color, particularly trans women of color, are overwhelmingly stereotyped by law enforcement, brutalized, and arrested for sex-work-related crimes. We know that the criminalization of sex work fails to protect trafficking survivors, compromises access to resources, endangers public health, and allows violence against sex workers to go unchecked. Black trans and cis women selling sexual services have historically been targets of violence. Police are often the perpetrators of this violence, or they turn a blind eye, labeling the crimes as “NHI” (no human involved).

DSW stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter:

* We are marching in the streets to demand divestment from law enforcement, police accountability, and justice for far too many unjust murders.

* We are supporting incredible community fundraisers to provide aid and space for Black sex workers. These funds include, but are not limited to, a donation page for Gizelle Marie of the NYC Stripper Strike to help create housing and resources for strippers and other sex workers of color nationwide, the G.L.I.T.S. lease fundraiser to provide housing and healthcare for transgender people of color who have been recently released from Rikers Island, and The Black Sex Worker Collective donation drive, which also has a housing initiative.

* We are working with legislators to support bills that defend Black lives, such as the repeal of the ban on loitering for the purposes of prostitution (“Walking While Trans”) in New York state.

When sex work is criminalized, racism thrives. People of color are systematically excluded from harm reduction services, such as healthcare and violence prevention. Instead, individuals are criminalized for trying to survive in a world that fails to make space for them. This month is Pride Month; there is no pride for some of us without justice for all of us.

DSW’s Frances Steele, J. Leigh Brantly, and Melissa Broudo (left to right) march for Black lives in NYC. (Photo: DSW, 2020)

Gizelle Marie — dancer, community activist, and founder of the NYC Stripper Strike — is raising money to support Black sex workers. (Photo: Tasha J. Fierce, 2020)

The G.L.I.T.S. fundraiser raised $1 million to provide safe and stable housing for trans people of color in NYC. (Photo: G.L.I.T.S., 2020)

DSW Newsletter #15 (June 2020)

Black Lives Matter

June 2020 Black people nationwide continue to be harassed and murdered by law enforcement, with little to no consequences. We know that this systemic disregard for Black lives is neither...
Read More
Black Lives Matter

Hero of the Month: Ceyenne Doroshow, Celebrating Pride Through Justice

June 14, 2020 DSW’s Hero of the Month for June is Ceyenne Doroshow — activist, organizer, and a cornerstone of the international sex worker and transgender, gender-nonconforming, nonbinary (TGNCNB) rights...
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Hero of the Month: Ceyenne Doroshow, Celebrating Pride Through Justice

DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly Co-founds Sex Worker Group in Vermont

June 9, 2020 A new sex worker rights organization was co-founded in VT by J. Leigh Brantly of DSW, along with local human rights advocate Henri. The Ishtar Collective is...
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DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly Co-founds Sex Worker Group in Vermont

International Whore’s Day 2020: Virtual and Vibrant

June 2, 2020 The 45th annual celebration of International Whore’s Day (IWD) departed from the usual, where sex workers and their allies don red attire and march through city streets...
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International Whore’s Day 2020: Virtual and Vibrant

DSW Debates Human Trafficking in the News

May 22, 2020 An opinion piece by DSW’s Kaytlin Bailey was published in the New Hampshire Union Leader in response to an opponent’s op-ed published days before. The original opinion...
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DSW Debates Human Trafficking in the News
Black Lives Matter Black Lives Matter
Hero of the Month: Ceyenne Doroshow, Celebrating Pride Through Justice Hero of the Month: Ceyenne Doroshow,...
DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly Co-founds Sex Worker Group in Vermont DSW’s J. Leigh Brantly Co-founds Sex...
International Whore’s Day 2020: Virtual and Vibrant International Whore’s Day 2020: Virtual and...
DSW Debates Human Trafficking in the News DSW Debates Human Trafficking in the...

DSW Newsletter Archive